Gearing Up for Some Timber and Caliber
Following the confirmation of the Kai Havertz deal and the breakthrough regarding the Declan Rice transfer saga, Arsenal is gearing to sign Jurrien Timber from AFC Ajax after it was disclosed that a fee of €47m has been agreed between parties. Timber is a 22-year-old Dutch defender that was an ever-present in the EreDivisie last season, starting all 34 games in the Dutch First Division, as well as featuring consistently in the Dutch KNVB Cup and Europe, starting all six Group Stage matches in the Champions League, and two games in the Europa League playoff defeat to Union Berlin.
In addition to playing as a right-sided center back and a right fullback, Timber inverts into central midfield like Oleksandr Zinchenko, adding a different dimension to Ajax’s attack. Last season, the wheels went off the rails in Arsenal’s Premier League title campaign when William Saliba suffered that back injury against Fulham that was aggravated in the defeat to Sporting CP. To add insult to injury, Arsenal lost Takehiro Tomiyasu on the same night, leaving the Gunners desperately bare at the back.
Rob Holding came to hold the fort, and unlike Hodor in Game of Thrones, he couldn’t hold the defensive door, as Arsenal shipped in goals with recklessly abandon in the games against Liverpool, Southampton and West Ham, before Manchester City decimated the team to put the nail in the title challenging coffin. Jakub Kiwior came on in Holding’s stead and did okay, but towards the end of the season, Arteta played Ben White alongside Gabriel, while trying to invert Partey from right fullback, which in all honesty, didn’t work out too well.
If Arteta had a Timber for instance, following the injury to Saliba, he could have easily slot in alongside Gabriel in the heart of the defense, or slotted in at right back to allow White pair up with Gabriel. This versatility is what Arteta needs as we fight in four competitions in the forthcoming season. Having Timber in the side will also provide some healthy competition for White and Saliba, which can only bode well for the team.
Timber’s acquisition further reduces Rob Holding’s chances of featuring in the team, and we have to also remember that we have Auston Trusty returning to the team following his successful spell with Birmingham City. We also have to take into consideration Tomiyasu’s injury record since his arrival from Bologna two seasons ago. In as much as we like Tomiyasu, his injury concerns have to make us ensure we have adequate depth to ease his continued absences.
Let’s see how this pans out but you have to laud Edu Gaspar and his team for their decisive transfer negotiations this summer.
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